Risk factors to tick infestations and their occurrence on horses in the state of São Paulo, Brazil

  • Labruna M
  • Kerber C
  • Ferreira F
 et al. 
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Abstract

From December 1998 to March 1999, 40 stud farms were studied in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. During visits to farms, horses reared under grazing conditions were examined for the presence of ticks. On each farm visit, horse pastures were closely inspected and a questionnaire was given to the farm supervisor with the purpose of gaining information about ecological and management variables (independent variables) that could be associated with the presence and infestation levels of ticks on the farm (dependent variables). Three tick species were found during the study. Anocentor nitens, Amblyomma cajennense and Boophilus microplus were present on horses from 38 (95%), 20 (50%) and four (10%) farms, respectively. All farms that had A. cajennense or B. microplus infestations also had A. nitens infestations. Only one of the four farms with B. microplus infestations on the horses also had A. cajennense infestations. Two farms had all horses free of ticks. There was a strong association between the presence of infestation by B. microplus on horses and the simultaneous use of a grazing area by cattle and horses (P = 0.000). There was no statistical association between any of the independent variables and the presence or infestation level of A. nitens on the horses (P > 0.20). The presence of A. cajennense was statistically associated with the presence of at least one mixed overgrowth pasture in the farm (P = 0.001). A mixed overgrowth pasture means the presence of undesired plants such as bushes and shrubs in the pasture. The presence of high levels of A. cajennense on horses was also associated with the presence of at least one mixed overgrowth pasture in the farm (P = 0.026). The regular use of acaricides was statistically associated with the presence of ticks on the horses (P < 0.05), making this procedure a result of the inefficacy of controlling ticks on the farms. The occurrence of human infestation by ticks was statistically associated with the presence of A. cajennense on the horses (P = 0.000). The presence of at least one mixed overgrowth pasture on the farm was associated (P = 0.000) to either higher horse densities and to farms that did not mow all the pastures once a year, indicating that mowing all the pastures at least once a year can be considered a protective factor against the presence of mixed overgrowth pastures on the farm, and consequently, against the presence of A. cajennense on the horses. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Amblyomma cajennense
  • Anocentor nitens
  • Boophilus microplus
  • Brazil
  • Horse
  • Risk factors

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